St Austell Man Forced To Abandon Dream Job Of Becoming A Paramedic Reveals Impact Disease Has Had As He Backs Awareness Campaign
Man Diagnosed With Stage Four Cancer Which Had Spread To Lymph Nodes And Liver
A dad has instructed lawyers to investigate after being diagnosed with bowel cancer nearly four years after a mass wasn’t highlighted in scan results.
Mark Allinson, of St. Austell, Cornwall, underwent a CT scan in September 2016 after attending A&E at Royal Cornwall Hospital complaining of stomach pain. He was told he had a left kidney stone, which he had a history of.
In the summer of 2020, the father-of-four visited a GP complaining of severe stomach pain, a change in bowel habit and unexplained weight loss. He was referred for urgent tests. In July 2020, following a CT scan, Mark was diagnosed with stage four cancer. During analysis of the second scan, it was reported that a mass in his bowel, was in retrospect, present in the 2016 scan.
Following his diagnosis Mark, aged 58, instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate his care under Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust and help him access the specialist support he requires.
Mark has now spoken for the first time about the impact his diagnosis has had, including how he had to abandon training to become a paramedic. He is joining her legal team in supporting Bowel Cancer Awareness Month.
James Pink, the specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Mark, said: “The last few years, coming to terms with his diagnosis and its impact has been incredibly difficult for not only Mark but also his family.
“Understandably he has a number of concerns about his diagnosis, particularly around whether the mass present in his previous CT scan should have been spotted in 2016, and if so, whether earlier treatment would have prevented his cancer developing. We’re now investigating those concerns to provide Mark with the answers he deserves.
“Through our work we sadly see the impact that bowel cancer can have. Mark hopes that by sharing his story he can help others be aware of the symptoms. We join him in supporting this incredibly important campaign as early detection and treatment are key to beating cancer.”
Following his diagnosis Mark, who lives with fiancé, Becky Holman, 46, underwent surgery to remove part of his bowel. He also had surgery to remove lymph nodes and remove cancerous tissue in his liver, stomach and pelvis.
However, doctors were unable to remove all cancerous tissue. He has required further on-going treatment and scanning to monitor and manage the disease.
At the time, Mark, an ambulance service emergency care assistant, was training to be a paramedic. However, he was forced to stop his training following his diagnosis and surgery and is now not able to pursue a career as a paramedic.
Following treatment Mark can only work part-time and continues to suffer with ongoing bowel symptoms and bloating. He takes tablets to help digest food and requires regular injections to slow and suppress any tumour growth.
Mark said: “It’s almost impossible to find the words to describe what the last few years have been like for me and my family.
“When I was told in 2016 that I had a kidney stone I had no reason to query it, particularly as I’ve suffered from them before. However, as time went on, I started developing symptoms and the pain was getting too much.
“While I knew something wasn’t quite right nothing prepared me for my diagnosis, and in particular, how my cancer had spread.
“At the time of my diagnosis life was good. I was putting everything into qualifying as a paramedic. However, that was all stopped in its tracks.
“The treatment while trying to come to terms with my diagnosis and how the cancer was advanced was difficult, not just physically but emotionally. Being a paramedic was my dream job and having to step back from that was difficult to accept. My diagnosis has also had huge impact on my family, in particular Becky, who has cared for me during my illness and had difficulties coming to terms with everything.
“Even though I’m coming through the other side of surgery and can’t thank the oncology teams for everything they’ve done, what happened still lives with me every day.
“I still suffer symptoms connected to my cancer and receive on-going treatment and while I try and remain as positive as I can it’s sometimes difficult especially while still having so many unanswered questions.
“Despite everything I’ve been through it’s vital that people are not only aware of the signs of bowel cancer but seek medical advice at the earliest opportunity. I just hope that by speaking out I can help raise awareness of what I’m going through to help others.”
Bowel Cancer Awareness Month runs throughout April. For more information visit Bowel Cancer UK’s websitewww.bowelcanceruk.org.uk